Monday, July 6, 2009
DBSK and Ikebukuro
Just had another fun filled weekend in Tokyo. I was supposed to go down to Fujiyoshida and attend a BBQ but I ended up not being able to find a ride to the party and I would have taken almost 4 hours via train and bus to get even remotely close to the lake where the party was being held, thus I opted to spend 2 hours traveling to Tokyo instead.

I spent the weekend with Katrina, who really wanted to go to the DBSK concert that was happening at the Tokyo dome. DBSK, or Tohoshinki as they are called in Japan, is a 5 member Korean boy band. I don't know much about them, but Katrina recently became a big fan of theirs. She wanted to get tickets to the concert, but they were sold out by the time she tried. I recently gained a lot of experience in getting Tokyo Dome tickets thanks to the KAT-TUN concert so I offered to help her look for some. All of the tickets I could find online were selling for at least 3man (aka $300) or more. And that was for crappy seats in the 2nd floor sections where the band would probably look like ants. She wasn't too please by those prices and opted to try her luck with scalpers on the day of.

I didn't want to wake up to early, so I just met her at the Tokyo Dome on Sat. afternoon. First we got lunch at this quaint little Italian restaurant and then it was off to hunt for some tickets. For one of the KAT-TUN concerts, I managed to buy cheap tickets off a scalper, but it was right at the start of the show and on a weekday for a concert that would be going on for 7 days straight. The DBSK concert was on the weekend and only 2 days, thus tickets were a bit scarcer. My first ticket buying via scalpers experience was super easy. When I got off the station at the Dome, there were girls just standing around with tickets to sell. This time, the only girls standing around were those with signs wanting to buy tickets of their own.

That made things a lot harder. Earlier in the day, I was paying close attention to the girls trying to buy tickets and did see a few who would approach the buyers and sell their tickets. Some things I noticed were that some girls who had already bought tickets could be seen trying to buy more later in the day. Either they had a lot of friends to buy for or where doing something a bit more shady and reselling the tickets for more than what they paid for. I was also trying to pay attention to how much the tickets were selling for and I definitely saw a few sell for under 1man.

But, for us, it was not so simple. Seeing as everyone had a sign, we stopped at a 7-11 and got a notebook to write up our own. Our sign simply said that we wanted to buy 2 tickets to the concert. At first, the only person who approached us was a seedy looking old man who wanted 3man for a ticket. We passed. However, it was really disheartening to see a bunch of other girls around us getting tickets while we were passed over. I can only assume that sellers didn't approach us because they didn't want to have to try and speak in English. I think next time our sign should also say Japanese okay! Eventually a Korean girl came up to us, but only had 1 ticket to sell. I assume she approached us because her English is better than her Japanese. By that point Katrina was getting angsty about not having a ticket and I didn't care either way, so we asked how much she wanted for the ticket. And low and behold, the price was 3man. She had one ticket to the Sat. show and another for the Sun. show. The Sat. show was for a crappy 2nd floor seat, but the one for the show on Sun. was for a 1st floor seat that seemed pretty decent. So Katrina decided to snag the Sun show ticket.

It took her quite a while to decide, but eventually she bought the ticket. It was a tough decision to make because there was a chance that we might just be able to find a cheaper ticket closer to the start time of the concert, but there were also quite a few girls holding want to buy signs so there was a chance that we wouldn't be able to find any ticket at all. I was a bit disappointed that I would not be going to the concert, but I definitely was not willing to pay 3man for a concert ticket to a band I didn't even know.

After sorting out the ticket stuff, we got in line to buy some concert goods. The line took about an hour to get through and I only ended up buying a CD of their recently released single. Katrina got a pamphlet book and a pen light to use at the concert the next day. Then we headed to Ikebukuro to check into our hotel for the night. The hotel ended up being an apartment building turned hotel, which was nice and our room was a decent size, had a decent AC, and had a nice bathroom.

After checking in, we headed to the Sunshine 60 building for some dinner. We ended up eating at the Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium. Its part of an indoor amusement park type place and consists of various stalls selling all sort of gyoza. You actually had to pay for a ticket to get into the area where the gyoza stadium was. We hit up a few stalls and tried all sorts of gyoza. During our first round of the stalls, we were drawn to a stall that had a picture of a little old lady on the advertising poster and grabbed some gyoza from there. During a latter round, we actually ran into the real live version of the grandma who was on the advertisement. She was really cute. My favorite gyoza of the evening was this really great cheese gyoza. Yum! After that it was time for desert in what was the equivalent of the gyoza stadium, but for ice cream instead! I had some garlic flavored ice cream (that sadly tasted like plain old vanilla but came in a cool carton) and some chili pepper gelato.

After that, it seemed everything in Ikebukuro had closed down and it was only 9:30! We were thinking of catching a late night movie, but both of the theaters in town had their last moving showings at, like, 8pm. One was still open, but was only showing the new Evangelion movie. But even that didn't start till 1am. Weird. We considered doing some karaoke, but since neither of us had a karaoke place membership we decided to grab some chu-his at the combini and have a nice quite evening in our hotel.

The next day, we headed back to the Sunshine 60 building, stopping to have lunch at a really cute star themed cafe, and went to the aquarium. Started off with watching a seal show that was pretty cute and then walked around looking at various fish and animals. That weekend was the release of the Ponyo DVD. It's the newest Miyazaki movie about a strange fish girl and one of the tanks had a replica of Ponyo floating around in the tank. It was really cute!

After that we did some shopping and went up to the observatory. I ended up buying the Ponyo DVD as I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but know quite a bit about it thanks to my students. I got a bunch of freebies with it too cause I bought it from the Miyazaki store. I had heard the observatory was free the last time I came to Ikebukuro with Janet, but its not. When we went to the aquarium though, we ended up getting a combined ticket for both the aquarium and observatory because it was a pretty good deal. Went rather quickly through the observatory (the Tokyo skyline doesn't really change all that much and I've seen it from at least 3 other tall building before) and looked around at the Eva exhibit that was setup.

After that, it was time for Katrina to head to the concert and I was just plain tired and decided to head back to Yamanashi early. Somehow, I ended up with an unusually long 30min wait at Otsuki to catch the next local train and ended up having dinner at a soba/udon shop in the station. And that was my Tokyo weekend! Next weekend I vow NOT to go to Tokyo.

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